Bad news after good news plus some okay news

MailChimp socks Good news Bad news Gary Lum

Bad news after good news plus some okay news
Diary

 
 
00:00 / 5:34
 
1X
 

Bad news

Last week, I mentioned some good news, sadly this week, I have some bad news.

I had been planning to have a busy and fulfilling week as I prepare for a meeting away from Canberra next week. Unfortunately, on Wednesday I received some bad news about a close family member and a serious diagnosis. To protect my relative’s privacy I won’t go into detail. The news hit me like a hammer to my head.

I pretty much lost all enthusiasm for shooting any photographs (or anything else for that matter) so I don’t have much to share. I’m in a melancholy place.

Going home

Well sort of. There have been some changes at work and I have to move workspaces from my current area to an area I used to occupy. I’m pretty happy with this move.

I’ll be on a lower level which makes walking up the stairs from the basement to the floor I work on more realistic every day. There are also fewer men on the floor, so the toilet experience will be substantially better. I also get a better view out the window. Not only that but I’ll be closer to colleagues working on projects and programs I’m especially interested in. It’s kind of exciting to think I’m coming home.

I won’t be able to move in completely until the new year.

I’m also heading ‘home’ in the sense to Brisbane for a couple of weeks to assist with my ill relative. It’s funny, Brisbane is my hometown but when I think of home I still think of Darwin.

Packing for a trip

So I’m headed somewhere cold and because I have a few tight connections, I really don’t want to use a bag I have to check in. I want to go with just two carry-on bags. I also need my MacBook plus all the paraphernalia associated with working and travelling. My biggest concern is having enough warm clothes in a small bag which I will need to walk with and catch trains. Fortunately, I won’t be gone for long.

People who know me also know I have Ichthyosis vulgaris and so I have significant moisturiser needs. This means carrying bottles and I’m concerned that one bottle is 150 mL rather than 100 mL. I don’t want to be pinged at security.

I bet you’re wondering, “where the hell is Gary going?” All will be revealed in the next post.

I checked the weather and when I arrive it will be –1 °C (30.2 °F). I think I’ll be carrying my Driza-Bone oilskin coat. I mustn’t forget gloves and a beanie. If this wasn’t work-related travel I reckon I’d go with something lighter and warm, but the Driza-Bone looks good and can be worn to a meeting.

Highlights of the week

Socks

I received some socks from MailChimp. MailChimp is an automation platform and the tool I use to send e-mails to subscribers.

MailChimp socks Good news Bad news Gary Lum

Weight loss update

Steady going, no real loss but no gains. I worry about the next few weeks with travel and the festive season coming up.
I think 2018 will see a renewed effort. I still want to get to 77 kg (170 lb) and remain about that weight. I’m currently hovering around 81 kg (178 lb) after starting the weight loss process at 87 kg (191 lb).
What did you have for dinner tonight? Salmon and stir-fried kale salad I put some shredded kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion, bird’s eye chillies, and spring onions in a frying pan and stir-fried it with some olive oil. I then added some salmon and cream. I garnished it with fresh spring onions. #lowcarb #weightloss Bad news Gary Lum
A healthful meal. Salmon and stir-fried kale salad
I put some shredded kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion, bird’s eye chillies, and spring onions in a frying pan and stir-fried it with some olive oil. I then added some salmon and cream. I garnished it with fresh spring onions.

Medical Fun Facts Podcast this week

Over the last couple of weekends, I’ve recorded four shows. Yesterday I finished and uploaded the Christmas Day show. This means I won’t have to worry about recording anything until 2018 begins. I’m getting close to the end of the alphabet and while I’m away I need to plan and prepare for how I want to take the Medical Fun Facts Podcast into 2018.
Cover art for the Medical Fun Facts Podcast Christmas special Bad news Gary Lum
Cover art for the Medical Fun Facts Podcast Christmas special
This week’s show drops Monday at 7 pm Canberra time. The topic is the Uvea. While you wait for that show to drop, check out last week’s show on tetanus.
http://garydlum.com/2017/09/17/podcasts-i-listen-to/

Worlds collide

A photograph of my boss, the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy on the cover of a journal. I’m on the editorial board for Microbiology Australia. In this issue, Brendan and another colleague write about immunisation (vaccination) policy in Australia.
Bad news Gary Lum worlds collide vaccination immunisation

Getting ready for 2018

My Brisbane Broncos membership card came in the mail.
Brisbane Broncos membership Bad news Gary Lum NRL

Have a good week friends

Take care of yourselves and take care of your health needs.
Gary Lum Square photograph Blue shirt

Good news

Good news Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRs

Good news
Diary

 
 
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Good news but I can’t say terribly much

Good news is always worth sharing and this has been a good week. That said, there’s not too much I can say. You see, I had a brilliant work week.

I’m mindful of not sharing too much about work. As an Australian Public Servant and a member of the Senior Executive Service, we’re reminded appropriately that ‘at all times’ we must conduct ourselves in a way that maintains the integrity of what we do.

What that means is I should not publicly discuss matters that relate to the policy areas I am actively engaged in. While some colleagues see it as a restriction, I see it as a freedom. It’s why I feel comfortable with this blog, my food blog Yummy Lummy, and my professional blog and podcast The Medical Fun Facts Podcast.

Last Friday, we welcomed evaluators from WHO who came to evaluate Australia’s compliance with the International Health Regulations 2005 and specifically the core capacities. This is part of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) process that WHO has been undertaking since the recent change from self-assessment to external assessment.

We had evaluators from WHO HQ, WHO WPRO (Manila), WHO One Health Office, OIE, USA, Canada, Japan, China, and New Zealand.

The IHR core capacities are those required to detect, assess, notify and report events, and respond to public health risks and emergencies of national and international concern, as stipulated in Articles 5 and 13, and Annex 1, of the Regulations.

It was great to meet with the external evaluation team on Friday. Over the weekend, members of the JEE team plus colleagues from the department spent time reviewing external sites relevant to the core capacities.

On Monday, my focus was on routine work and a special stakeholder meeting relating to a very important part of my work.

On Tuesday though, the process of formal evaluation took place and began in earnest. This involved nineteen separate panel sessions covering all the core capacities. I had the privilege of chairing four sessions which meant I got to present information on those core capacities. I was really happy to be able to speak about Australia’s capability and capacity in our national laboratory system, biosafety and biosecurity (pathogen security), linking public health and security agencies, and finally radiation emergencies. These are all areas I feel strongly about and for which I have a good working knowledge. This formal evaluation took three whole days of solid questions and answers. It was thoroughly enjoyable though. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with the process. Good news.

Good news Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRs

Downside

The only downside of these sorts of meetings is “meeting food”. Don’t get me wrong, meeting food is usually tasty, but when something this big happens, it usually means there are regular breaks and regular opportunities to indulge in scones, spinach and feta rolls, chicken and mayo wraps, freshly cut fruit and litres of filter coffee and tea. Not so much good news!

My weight loss desires took a back seat as you can see in this week’s graph.

Good news Weight Chart Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRS Good news Weight Chart Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRS

Busy weekend

No, not with Christmas shopping but with podcast recording and uploading. I’m going away for a week soon and I needed to prerecord three podcast episodes so I don’t have to worry about them while I’m away. This kept me busy all weekend while the rain was falling steadily across the south-east of Australia.

JEE Mug Gary Lum Good news Core capacities WHO JEE IHRs

I won’t say where I’m going just yet, you’ll find out soon enough. If you don’t subscribe to My Thoughts and Stuff, now is a good opportunity so you don’t miss out on the surprise!

Connecting and reconnecting with friends on social media

Good news, this week saw a return of K to blogging over at Here in the Silence. It is great to reconnect with her and to read her writing. She is such a wonderful person, beautiful in all ways and a terrific writer of prose and poetry.

I’ve mentioned before the podcasters I ‘hang’ with online. We’ve recently moved to Slack as a platform to chat. It offers so many opportunities to share with one another and has the ability to connect with other productivity tools like Trello and Evernote.

It’s funny, most of the people I chat with on Slack are fellow podcasters, but we tend not to chat that much about the mechanics of podcasting. We normally discuss things relating to food, video gaming, and popular culture.

I’ve mentioned before but in this group, we have podcasters from Mouthy Broadcast, Zombie Anonymous, Dork Trek, and the Promenade Podcast. Check them out if you dare.

Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat

Then, of course, it’s great to chat with people on Twitter and Facebook. What I like about this is that after getting to know some people, we’ve built up such a good rapport we now spend quite a bit of time chatting via Messages or e-mail or Twitter DMs.

So what have you been up to this week?

Do you have any good news to share? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Hit me up on social media like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to share what’s been good in your life this week.

This week on the Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This week I’m talking about Tetanus. The show drops on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time. You can listen via your favourite podcatcher or watch an Apple Keynote presentation on YouTube or read the show notes at The Medical Fun Facts Podcast.

Good news The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Gary Lum JEE WHO IHRS

My thoughts and stuff Gary’s update on Saturday 25 November 2017

My thoughts and stuff Gary’s update on Saturday 25 November 2017
Diary

 
 
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1X
 

This podcast complements the blog post on iodine deficiency

I speak about my recent weekend away, a lecture I attended on Tuesday night about Iodine deficiency, my thoughts on whether Australia should celebrate Thanksgiving and an update on this week’s Medical Fun Facts Podcast.

An excerpt from the blog post:

I learned that in China, Prof. Eastman assisted the people by igniting the government into making a humungous change and iodise the salt which rapidly raised the intelligence quotient of millions of Chinese people living in remote and rural settings. Reducing iodine deficiency is the key.

I also learnt that at the time, Tibet became an unintended control group. There were villages in Tibet where the majority of people had goitres, cretinism still occurred and in addition to intellectual retardation, growth retardation also occurred. Prof. Eastman went in and assisted the locals by introducing iodised oil. The effect was dramatic by reducing iodine deficiency.

What Prof. Eastman also revealed was the population problems in terms of poor intellectual development in Australia. His collaborators used the much-maligned NAPLAN process to compare intellectual development in Australian children.  His group discovered that some time ago the Australian dairy industry made a decision to change milk vat disinfection from iodophors to chlorine without telling anyone. This had the effect of reducing the available iodine in dairy products. Iodine is inimical to bacterial growth so it was a fabulous disinfectant.

In addition, there has been a general move to reduce salt intake and to not add salt to food. While there is nothing wrong with that, instead of buying and using good old-fashioned iodised cooking salt people started following cooking fads and started to buy sea salt and rock salt and sadly Himalayan rock salt. I say sadly because that Himalayan salt, according to Prof. Eastman is murky and dirty looking because of the presence of noxious trace metals that don’t do anything positive for our health. The bottom line was that the little added salt people did use was not iodised and possibly had harmful effects.

Iodised salt is used in bread but with so many people eschewing bread because they believe they have a gluten intolerance (rather than having fair dinkum cœliac disease, this had led to a further reduction in iodine in our diets.

Prof. Eastman’s advice is that pregnant women in Australia should supplement their diets as soon after conception as possible with iodine. The risk of not doing this is having a child who may be a slow learner and all the consequences of that.

Should Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?

When you look up Wikipedia and search for Thanksgiving it’s a revelation to see just how widespread thanksgiving celebration is.

While I know a lot of Australians resent following Americana on everything I wonder if we should spread the message that Thanksgiving could also be an Australian holiday but for different reasons when compared with our American friends. If we did it correctly we could do something to ameliorate the angst associated with Australia Day and the concerns expressed by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who consider 26 January to be what they regard as “invasion day”, that is the day the British arrived and began colonising Australia. I think we should still mark Australia Day (26 January) as an important day but we wouldn’t need a public holiday. We could transfer the public holiday to Thanksgiving which could be celebrated on another day. Thanksgiving could be a day to celebrate reconciliation.

Here is where I reckon we should look at the American tradition and use a specific day of the week, e.g, the third Friday of January every year. This way the public holiday isn’t ‘wasted’ on a Saturday or Sunday and we get a long weekend. Another possible day would be the second Tuesday of November so while the Victorians are having fun getting pissed at a horse race, the rest of Australia could enjoy some nice seafood and a mixed grill on the barbie followed by a pavlova. Morning tea could be filled with vanilla slices (bloody Victorians call them snot blocks) and lamingtons. After lunch, people would have time without affecting the national productivity to watch the horserace and waste the arvo drinking grog so by dinner time they can sober up and get ready for work the next day.

When Australia becomes a republic I want to run for President on a platform a long weekend every month.

I did not know that Thanksgiving is celebrated on Norfolk Island.

What do you reckon? Should we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?

Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency
Diary

 
 
00:00 / 00:10:06
 
1X
 

Iodine deficiency

Hello Friends,

Brisbane

I missed blogging last week because I went to Brisbane to visit my daughters and parents. I had a fantastic time. It rained heavily the entire weekend. I love heavy rain and I love driving in heavy rain. It reminded me of driving from Darwin to Katherine once with a colleague. It was February and the Monsoon was upon us. I could barely see what was in front of me and bear in mind this was the time of unrestricted driving, meaning, no speed limit. My colleague asked if I could see the road because he couldn’t. I replied, “No, but I can feel the road.” He elected not to join me for the return drive and decided to hire a car at his own expense for the return journey the next day.

I bet you’re wondering how I went with my weight loss dream while in Brisbane and visiting my family. Gee, I ate well. But I ate sensibly, well, in my opinion, I ate sensibly.

Weekend food highlights

I flew up on Friday evening and decided to only eat the chicken in the chicken curry that was served as a meal on my flight. I left the rice behind.

Chicken curry

iodine deficiency

🐓 Sorry for the crappy photo

On Saturday morning, I took Ms22 and Ms20 to breakfast to Cafe 63 in Chermside and enjoyed a big hearty breakfast of pork sausages, BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef, hash brown (I ate one of two), scrambled eggs, and a grilled tomato. I left the toast behind.

Cafe 63 big breakfast

iodine deficiency
BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef burger, pork sausage, hash browns and eggs

At lunchtime on Saturday, Ms20, Miss16 and I went to the Sandgate Fishmonger and I had a piece of grilled cod along with one of two crumbed squid tentacles.

Sandgate Fishmonger grilled cod

iodine deficiency
Grilled cod 🐟

For dinner, I took my parents along with Ms22 and Ms20 to Motto Motto in Chermside. It’s an interesting Japanese restaurant. Sort of fast food, order at the counter, speedy food service, eat and leave. I had a bowl of seared salmon, avocado, green salad leaves and Teriyaki sauce. I also had a side of two soft shelled crabs. I also managed to snag a piece of karaage chicken, a Teriyaki chicken wing and a pork gyoza dumpling.

Motto Motto seared salmon and avocado with soft shelled crabs

iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad
iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad

iodine deficiency

After dinner, Dad treated us all to a gelato. This is the first gelato or ice cream I’ve had in months. Gee, it tasted good. I licked that vanilla creaminess like to was the most important thing in my life.

Gelato

iodine deficiency
Vanilla gelato

On Sunday, I was able to enjoy breakfast with Ms22, Ms20, and Miss16. We went to Hermosa in Chermside. I constructed my breakfast by asking for bacon, poached eggs, wilted spinach and avocado. The avocado was coated with seeds and crushed nuts and was really very nice.

iodine deficiency
Poached eggs, bacon, avocado and wilted spinach

All in all, I ate well on the weekend. When I weighed in on Monday morning I wasn’t shattered with the result.

See for yourself in the chart below.

Weight chart

iodine deficiency

Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency

On Tuesday night I attended a monthly meeting of medical officers who work in the Australian Government Department of Health. Our guest speaker was Prof. Creswell Eastman, AM. Prof. Eastman is a legend. He is best known for a lifetime of work on iodine deficiency and the role iodine plays in a person’s intellectual development. He’s shown time and again the problems of iodine deficiency not only in Australia but also in China including Tibet.

Check out my Twitter feed.

Click on the tweet and you should be able to follow the lecture from my Tweets.

I learned that in China, Prof. Eastman assisted the people by igniting the government into making a humungous change and iodise the salt which rapidly raised the intelligence quotient of millions of Chinese people living in remote and rural settings. Reducing iodine deficiency is the key.

I also learnt that at the time, Tibet became an unintended control group. There were villages in Tibet where the majority of people had goitres, cretinism still occurred and in addition to intellectual retardation, growth retardation also occurred. Prof. Eastman went in and assisted the locals by introducing iodised oil. The effect was dramatic by reducing iodine deficiency.

What Prof. Eastman also revealed was the population problems in terms of poor intellectual development in Australia. His collaborators used the much-maligned NAPLAN process to compare intellectual development in Australian children.  His group discovered that some time ago the Australian dairy industry made a decision to change milk vat disinfection from iodophors to chlorine without telling anyone. This had the effect of reducing the available iodine in dairy products. Iodine is inimical to bacterial growth so it was a fabulous disinfectant.

In addition, there has been a general move to reduce salt intake and to not add salt to food. While there is nothing wrong with that, instead of buying and using good old-fashioned iodised cooking salt people started following cooking fads and started to buy sea salt and rock salt and sadly Himalayan rock salt. I say sadly because that Himalayan salt, according to Prof. Eastman is murky and dirty looking because of the presence of noxious trace metals that don’t do anything positive for our health. The bottom line was that the little added salt people did use was not iodised and possibly had harmful effects.

Iodised salt is used in bread but with so many people eschewing bread because they believe they have a gluten intolerance (rather than having fair dinkum cœliac disease, this had led to a further reduction in iodine in our diets.

Prof. Eastman’s advice is that pregnant women in Australia should supplement their diets as soon after conception as possible with iodine. The risk of not doing this is having a child who may be a slow learner and all the consequences of that.

If you want a salty recipe you can use iodised salt for, check out this great looking pork crackling on Yummy Lummy.

Thanksgiving

Should Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?

When you look up Wikipedia and search for Thanksgiving it’s a revelation to see just how widespread thanksgiving celebration is.

While I know a lot of Australians resent following Americana on everything I wonder if we should spread the message that Thanksgiving could also be an Australian holiday but for different reasons when compared with our American friends. If we did it correctly we could do something to ameliorate the angst associated with Australia Day and the concerns expressed by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who consider 26 January to be what they regard as “invasion day”, that is the day the British arrived and began colonising Australia. I think we should still mark Australia Day (26 January) as an important day but we wouldn’t need a public holiday. We could transfer the public holiday to Thanksgiving which could be celebrated on another day. Thanksgiving could be a day to celebrate reconciliation.

Here is where I reckon we should look at the American tradition and use a specific day of the week, e.g, the third Friday of January every year. This way the public holiday isn’t ‘wasted’ on a Saturday or Sunday and we get a long weekend. Another possible day would be the second Tuesday of November so while the Victorians are having fun getting pissed at a horse race, the rest of Australia could enjoy some nice seafood and a mixed grill on the barbie followed by a pavlova. Morning tea could be filled with vanilla slices (bloody Victorians call them snot blocks) and lamingtons. After lunch, people would have time without affecting the national productivity to watch the horserace and waste the arvo drinking grog so by dinner time they can sober up and get ready for work the next day.

When Australia becomes a republic I want to run for President on a platform a long weekend every month.

I did not know that Thanksgiving is celebrated on Norfolk Island.

What do you reckon? Should we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?

Black and white

So if you’re on Facebook and/or Instagram you’ll have probably seen if not participated in the black and white challenge. It’s been fun shooting a photograph every day editing it to black and white and then posting it to Instagram and then out to Facebook and Twitter.

I wouldn’t say these photographs are any good but it was fun. The idea is not to include people you know and you don’t provide any explanation as to why you shot the photograph.

This is a gallery. Click on one photograph and then scroll through each image.

This week on the Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This week I talk about scabies. The show will drop on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time. I’m trying something different. Rather than a ‘fake video’ I’ve produced an Apple Keynote slideshow with a voiceover. This will be available on YouTube (also on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time).

YouTube thumbnail for Monday’s show

iodine deficiency

An embarrassing story of racism

Gary Lum slant eyed Is this how people still see me?

An embarrassing story of racism
Diary

 
 
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This is an embarrassing story of racism that caused me to feel some shame.

  • A distinguished scholar tells me a story of racism in Australia
  • I’m embarrassed as an Australian
  • I was embarrassed as a Queenslander
  • You should read Mabel Kwong’s blog

This week I had the privilege to be involved in a multi-day meeting of experts in a field I feel quite passionate about. These experts came from many different countries. We also had a very distinguished guest. A man from USA, a full professor from a prestigious university, a man who is quite brilliant with a special knack to take very complex cutting edge scientific concepts and translate them into strategic policy for global consideration. He has the ear of senior decision makers in USA and the confidence of scientific giants.

An awkward conversation

He approached me during a break and we had this conversation…

“Gary, can I tell you a story?”

“Sure Fred*”

“I was in Sydney on a train, seated next to a window. A couple, a man and a woman got on, the woman sat next to me and her partner sat in the seat in front. I don’t think she really noticed me when she sat down.”

“Boarding behind them were a crowd of tourists from China. “There are too many of them in our country!””

Fred turned to the woman and politely said, “Ma’am, would you prefer me to move so you can sit next to your partner?”

The man turned around and said, “No, it’s okay.”

The woman sneered at Fred, “You don’t speak like them, but your accent is different.”

“Yes Ma’am, I’m American.”

“But you look like them.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I’m American born Chinese.”

The woman huffed.

Fred told me that after a while he could chat with the woman’s husband and found out they were from Brisbane. It turns out Fred’s assistant is from Brisbane so fortunately, he didn’t feel this woman was a typical example of a person from Brisbane.

Fred asked me if this was common in Australia.

Embarrassment Plus!

I was so embarrassed. I was embarrassed as an Australian that Fred had to experience this. I was embarrassed as a Queenslander, that people from my hometown had insulted Fred. Fred is well spoken and while I’m not a linguist, I guess his accent is more northeast USA in origin. Fred is also about ten years’ senior to me, so not old, but a mature man who has aged well.

We chatted for a while and we discovered our upbringing had similarities. At primary (or elementary) school, we both suffered at the hands of bullies. Usually, older boys who would pick on us. There were also high school experiences. Like when a history master told my class that the ‘Japs’ didn’t fly at night because they couldn’t see that well. The inference being that slant eyed oriental fighter pilots were somehow disabled by their almond eyes.

Fred and I pondered the current state of affairs in terms of global politics. I make it a policy of my writing not to comment on politics, suffice to say, the attitudes of people to others who look different and speak a different language appear to be more pronounced of late.

Fred’s a good bloke, I look forward to reading more of his published work.

Mabel Kwong

As I write this I’m reminded of a blogger friend from Melbourne. Mabel Kwong writes about her experiences as an Australian born Chinese. Like me, she’s an ABC. Fred also knows himself as an ABC although American born Chinese.

Mabel’s blog posts are always well thought out, considered and heartfelt pieces. If you like good writing and want to learn what it’s like for a young woman with a Chinese background growing up in Australia and Malaysia, please subscribe to Mabel’s blog.

Do people still see me this way?

So, I took this selfie and want to know, when you see me is it the Chinese that stands out? I’d prefer it was the multiple chins, although that does pose that funny but still racist joke about being called Dr Chin 😜 Given how much I eat, I’m surprised I don’t have more ‘chins’.

Gary Lum slant eyed Is this how people still see me?

I’ve also recorded this so for those who haven’t heard my voice on Medical Fun Facts^ or my Yummy Lummy YouTube videos#, you can hear my accent. The audio widget is at the top of this post or you can hear it on iTunes too.

 

*Not his real name. I won’t reveal his name or the nature of the meeting because it is work related. I am conscious not to discuss the details of my work on social media.

^The show notes as blog posts can be found at http://DrGaryLum.com/blog

#The associated blog posts can be found at my Food Blog, Yummy Lummy

 

Public art in Woden

Woden public art in a couple of forms Public art in Woden gary Lum

Public art in Woden
Diary

 
 
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My opinion of public art

If you’d asked me before I moved to Canberra nearly ten years ago what I thought about public art. I’d have said, “…it’s a bloody waste of taxpayers’ money!”

I had no time for art in any form. I’d never really been interested in it.

I have no education in art and I’ve never read anything about art. I’ve certainly not picked up a book about art.

Woden public art in a couple of forms Public art in Woden gary Lum
Woden public art in a couple of forms

Public art in Canberra

The public art in Canberra though grows on you. All you need to do is enter “public art in Canberra” into a search engine and in the image page you’ll see what I mean. The place is replete with so much art work.

I do like “The Fragment” which is the feature in the photograph I’ve shared.

Street art in Canberra

Where I work in Woden, there are a couple of abandoned buildings that are in a state of disrepair. Broken windows, trash, overgrown plants and a reasonable amount of graffiti.

Canberra, like any city has its share of graffiti but it’s not known for it.

This area around Woden has started to get a name for itself and some locals are describing it as Canberra’s ghetto without people.

Final words

I seriously hope someone starts working on these derelict buildings. Canberra is our national capital. Government agencies are situated in neighbouring buildings. We have foreign dignitaries come and visit us in our buildings and they see the mess.

Podcast episode: A brief family history

Gary Lum and Mum

Podcast episode: A brief family history
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Last night I posted a photograph of my maternal grandfather, William Que Hee, on Instagram. I posted it after I’d written and dropped a podcast about the dream I had of Goong goong while eating on a cruise ship of all things.

You can get this podcast in iTunes too at https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/my-thoughts-and-stuff/id1207747458

 

My friend and fellow blogger Daniel saw the photograph and asked if I knew much about my family history. I replied that I knew enough to satisfy my curiosity.

On my mother’s side, I’m fifth generation Australian and except for an Irish great grandmother everyone else is Chinese. On my father’s side, they’re all Chinese. My father was born and grew up in Fiji. His parents sailed there from China to set up a general store. Both sides of the family originally came from the same village somewhere in the southeast of China.

Back to Mum’s side. Her people came out for gold and settled in parts of Queensland. They were wise people. My maternal grandmother was born in Charters Towers. She was sent back to China when she was two to be educated. She returned to Australia aged twelve fully educated. She was a smart no nonsense woman.

My parent’s generation were the first to go through tertiary education. Mum did teacher’s training college and became a domestic science teacher. Her younger brother went on to be a very successful urologist. My Dad graduated in medicine in New Zealand and had a very successful general practice in Brisbane for more than thirty years. Some of his brothers were engineers, both civil and aeronautical. Others were in business and administration.

Gary Lum and Mum

Dad and Mum of Gary Lum

Podcast episode: I dreamt about my maternal grandfather

Goong goong William Que Hee Gary Lum

Podcast episode: I dreamt about my maternal grandfather
Diary

 
 
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This podcast is about a dream I had of my maternal grandfather. You can find the blog post at garydlum.com

You can now listen to “My thoughts and stuff” on iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/my-thoughts-and-stuff/id1207747458

Do you remember your dreams? I love dreaming. Dreaming is so enjoyable, mostly. Occasionally I have nightmares, but mostly I have pleasant dreams. I usually don’t remember what I’ve dreamt about unless it’s something really special.

Last night I dreamt I was on a cruise ship of all things and of course I was trying all the buffets. One buffet was Chinese food and had a bowl of clear marrow broth with pork bones. As I was going back for more the cook brought out a big plate of cooked pork ribs with meat on them. They looked delicious. I grabbed some on a plate and went back to a table. Sitting opposite me was my maternal grandfather. Goong goong. That’s what we (his grandchildren) called him. His name was William Que Hee. He was a cane farmer and a cook, a husband and grandfather and all round good bloke.

He died in 1974. He, along with my maternal grandmother effectively raised me as a small boy. I have many fond memories of Goong goong. He was a kind and gentle man. He turned our backyard into a vegetable garden full of Chinese vegetables. He cooked, he cleaned and he kept me safe. I still miss him though he’s been dead for so many years. In the photographs below he’s holding me.

Do you remember dreams? Do you write them down? Do think there’s any value in keeping a dream diary?